Anambra Politicians Eyeing Obiano’s Job

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David-Chyddy Eleke profiles 25 top Anambra sons and daughters, from different political parties, who are eyeing the job of the current governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano as the 2021 governorship election draws closer

Peoples Democratic Party

For now, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the highest number of aspirants in the state and has vowed to take the state from the party in power, All Progressives Grand Alliance. The party has thrown open its door to everyone to join the contest, stating that for now, the clamour for zoning the position to Anambra South would not be adhered to.

Harry Oranezi

He is better known as a medical doctor and policy expert than as a politician. Oranezi is, however, a politician and has played several roles in the politics of Anambra and Nigeria. He was a coordinator of the Atiku/Obi presidential election in Anambra in 2019.

Ifedi Okwenna

Ifedi Okwenna is coming into the governorship race with a huge knowledge of the political terrain in Anambra and Nigeria. He has held several political positions in the past, including as Special Assistant (Political) in the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo and Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources; Commissioner Science and Technology, under the Peter Obi-led administration in Anambra State and Secretary, Honorary Advisory Committee, to President Jonathan.

Emeka Azubogu

He is the current member of the House of Representitives representing Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, a position he has been in for three terms. He is very popularly known as ‘Mr Project’ because of the huge infrastructures he has attracted to the area. Azubogu’s capacity to lead the state is not in doubt. He is an amiable politician that does not carry any air around him. His constituents see him as a noiseless politician who is also very open to all, just as he is accessible. He prides himself as the most prepared of all the people gunning for the position, and does very great exploits, noiselessly.

Valentine Ozigbo

Many people have referred to him as a rookie politician, and they may not be exactly wrong. He is the immediate past President of Transnational Corporation, also known as Transcorp. Ozigbo prides himself as coming into politics on a clean slate. He once told journalists that he decided to come into politics after viewing from the sideline for a while, and believes that after touching lives as a private individual, he believes that as a public servant, he would touch more persons, and is determined to do so.

Godwin Maduka

The Lion of Africa is a more popular name by which this US based medical doctor is known. He is a renowned pain manager and the owner of Las Vegas Pain Institute in Las Vegas, United States of America. He is among those who can be described as green horn politicians, as he is not known to have participated in politics in the state before now. However, he is known to have deep pocket, and has capitalized on his riches to build for himself a huge crowd of followers. Many still think he is only being followed because he has resources to spend, just as others think he is arrogant.

Uche Ekwunife

Known to be a performer in any position she finds herself in, Ekwunife has grown to be a veteran governorship contender, as one can always predict that she would be in any governorship election in the state. She is a sitting senator of the federal republic and represents Anambra Central. She has over the years grown to be a known grassroot politicians with a formidable followership. Many hold the opinion that Anambra is too complex to be left in the hands of a woman, but with the magic wand she has deployed in the past, it would be risky to underate her.

Obiora Okonkwo

A respected leading businessman, Okonkwo is coming to power prepared. He holds a PhD in Political Science from a Russian University. He is highly favoured for the governorship position as he is very much liked by people across the state. He is the owner of The Dome Event and Entertainment Centre in Abuja and also of the about to commence New Nigeria Airline. Very popularly known as Dike Ora, Okonkwo holds the highest traditional titles in each of the three senatorial zones of the state, and reputed to be very rich too. Singlehandedly, he has for a very long time sponsored the activities of his political party, and through his non-governmental organization; Pro-Value Humanity Foundation, he has touched lives across the state and beyond.

Ike Oligbo

Oligbo is a UK trained lawyer and businessman. He hails from Umuoji in Idemili South Local Government Area, which falls into Anambra Central zone. During a recent meeting with members of the PDP, he said he was bringing his wealth of experience in many fields of endeavour, garnered in UK to ensure development for the state. He listed power, security, youth employment, education, road construction, healthcare, focus on ecological challenges and many more as some of his priority areas for the state. He is not known to have political antecedents.

Emeka Etiaba

Son of the first Nigeria female politician ever to become governor of a state; Dame Virgy Etiaba. Emeka is a top flight lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. In 2010, Etiaba gave then incumbent governor, Mr Peter Obi a tough fight as he sought to unseat the governor then, and went to the extent of receiving the blessings of the leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu ahead of the then governor. He however lost the governorship ticket of the party. Etiaba has since then faded out of politics and many believe he will have to do a lot of work to bounce back politically.

Godwin Ezeemo

Successful businessman, hotel proprietor, publisher of Orient Daily Newspaper, owner of Orient FM, and a successful farmer, Ezeemo is known to be rich. He is gradually becoming a veteran governorship contender too as he has twice before now given the position a shot without success.

Chuma Nzeribe

Though there have not been much mention about his aspiration, but recently, the chairman of the PDP in Anambra State, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu mentioned Nzeribe as one of the persons who have shown interest in the governorship ticket of the party in the forthcoming election. He was known as a de-facto governor during the days of Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju as governor of Anambra State, but has since faded into oblivion after the abrupt end of Mbadinuju’s government.

Ugochukwu Okeke

Ugochukwu Okeke is a young politician. A die hard member of the PDP, where he has previously contested for governorship too. Political watchers dismiss him as among the kind of contenders known as pretenders as he neither has the resources to truly engage in a contest nor the followership needed to achieve victory.

Oseloka Obaze

He ran for the governorship position in 2014 on the platform of the PDP in a bid to stop Governor Willie Obiano from gaining reelection. He is a diplomat and secretary to the Anambra state government during the Governor Peter Obi administration, and during the early days of the administration of Governor Willie Obiano. He later dumped APGA and moved to PDP, where he was seen as a favourite aspirant of the former governor, Peter Obi. He lost to Obiano.

Stella Oduah

Oduah was former Aviation Minister and the current senator representing Anambra North senatorial zone. Though not much has been heard of her, nor has she stated her intention to run, but her supporters believe that she is warming up for the contest.

APGA

The All Progressives Grand Alliance is the ruling party in the state. The number of aspirants may have been limited by the choice of the party to zone the governorship position to the southern zone. Anambra can be referred to as a one-party-state as APGA controls only Anambra. The party has vowed to remain in power in the state and expand to other states, and 2021 may present a tough test for her, especially for out-going Governor Obiano who has the burden of ensuring the state remains an APGA state.

Chukwuma Soludo

Former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria is one that can be said to be a tested and trusted hand in the business of governance. He has long been touted as the ace of his party until recently, when rumours of underground plans by influential persons in his party to dump him for another candidate surfaced. Soludo first gave the governorship seat a shot in 2010 when he sought to unseat Obi who was then running for a second term. In 2017, Soludo was being wooed by some people to contest against Obiano (who was seeking reelection), but in a move that surprised many, he rejected and simply joined APGA after he delivered a lecture stating clearly that Anambra under Obiano was not broken and as such didn’t need fixing. He is strongly warming up for the contest, and is said to have assured some confidants that even if APGA failed to field him, he would still contest and win the election. He has a strong cult-like following among young people in the state.

Nicholas Ukachukwu

Ukachukwu is a veteran election contender. He has contested in many governorship and senatorial elections in the state. Recently, his billboards surfaced in parts of the state, showing his supporters urging him to run for the governorship seat. Besides the push to vie, many believe that Ukachukwu may be a decoy by the first family in the state to replace Soludo who many say may not be amenable to external influence, once sworn in.

Ben Nwankwo

A two term House of Representatives member for Orumba North and Orumba South Federal Constituency. He recently joined the APGA from his former party, the PDP, fueling speculations that he may have brokered a deal with the leaders of the party for him to fly its flag in 2021. He is a grass root mobiliser, a likeable politician and very soft spoken.

Damian Okolo

An Estate Surveyor, a fellow of the Institute of Arbitrators, a legal practitioner and a graduate of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Okolo prides himself as among the few aspirants who have been trained for good governance. He is among the first aspirants to show interest in the contest, and has since then been mobilizing support. He believes strongly in the zoning of the governorship position to the southern senatorial zone and hails from Nnewi.

Stanley Uzochukwu

Uzochukwu is a young entrepreneur who has never been associated with politics. He is also being touted as the preferred choice of the first family in Anambra State, and may be handed the party’s ticket in the nick of time. His investment in Anambra; Stanel World, which deals in oil and gas, entertainment, fast food and supermarket chain has also severally been linked to the wife of Anambra state governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, just as many have described him as a front.

Nnamdi Okonkwo

Former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Okonkwo’s name has been discussed in places. His recent resignation from Fidelity Bank has also been linked to his quest to become the governor of Anambra. Fidelity Bank is a major financier of projects in Anambra State, and recently, anyone who seeks governance in Anambra must have a Fidelity Bank connection. Obi was chairman of the bank, and he handed over to Obiano who was executive director of same bank. No one can blame those who think Obiano may hand over to the former MD, especially, as his younger brother, Mike is a commissioner in the Obiano cabinet.

Young Peoples Party

Young Peoples Party, is relatively unknown in Anambra. Senator Ifeanyi Ubah moved to the party in 2018 to contest and won the 2019 senatorial election for Anambra South, after an agreement he said he entered with Governor Obiano to hand him the ticket of APGA failed.

Ifeanyi Ubah

Among all the governorship aspirants in Anambra State, only one is sure of the ticket of his party for the election. That politician is Senator Ifeanyi Ubah. It would not be wrong to state categorically that Ubah stands in a class of his own as far as the contest is concerned. This is because he is the face of the party in the state, and can be said to be far more popular than the party on whose platform he is contesting. The Nnewi born oil magnate is not new to politics. He has also made several attempts to govern the state but has remained unlucky. He is known to have deep pockets, and also the willingness to throw around money to achieve his desires. He is also very much loved among the larger population of the state, but elites oppose his aspiration on the grounds that he has limited education, while others say the governorship bid may just be an opportunity he seeks to off-set his debt with AMCON. It was like magic when he won his senate election on the platform of YPP, and many believe he can repeat the feat again.

All Progressives Congress

The party has never commanded enough followership in the state, despite having some notable politicians, and being the party in power at the federal level. It however has few notable aspirants who hope to move the state to the centre.

George Moghalu

A likeable soft-spoken politician, and a long time ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Moghalu is the current Director General of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). Though he is yet to mention his quest for the governorship seat, his name is everywhere as a possible contender. He is believed to be one of the oldest members of the APC in the state besides the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige. He joined the APC from CPC, which was led by President Buhari into the merger deal. He is also believed to be highly favoured for the ticket.

Tony Nwoye

Young and ambitious Tony Nwoye has made a name for himself in the Anambra political arena. He has been chairman of the PDP at a very tender age, and a two term member of the House of Representatives before he voluntarily declined further contest for the position. He has a crop of young followers who are ready to die defending him. He is not a push over as far as Anambra politics is concerned and has contested the governorship seat of Anambra state twice, and beaten known persons to the ticket in his choice party.

Johnbosco Onunkwo

Onunkwo is a young and ambitious politician too, but not in the mould of Nwoye. He is gradually gaining the notoriety of a veteran election contender despite his young age as he is always coming out for every governorship election. He is into oil and gas, and said to be rich too, but many believe that he lacks the root that politicking and governorship contest requires in Anambra State.

Andy Ubah

His is a household name. His nearest attempt to governing Anambra State was in 2007 when he was sworn in but later removed after just 17 days as governor for then governor, Mr Peter Obi to complete his four-year term. He later mounted a strong campaign to be sworn in, in 2010 after Obi’s first term on the premise that he was already a governor-in-waiting, having won the 2007 governorship election overwhelmingly, but he failed. Since then, Uba has contested every governorship election on every available political party including PDP, APC, LP.

Chidozie Nwankwo

Nwankwo is a pastor and a successful business man. He is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of Wichtech, a company that produces roofing sheets. Those who know him say he is rich and would have no problem in financing his gubernatorial ambition, just as he is believed to be very well connected outside the state and among the leaders of the APC at the national level. He has long opened a campaign office in Awka, and recently hosted the leadership of APC in the state, while also promising to win over the Anambra government house if he is given the ticket off the party.

QUOTE

Young and ambitious Tony Nwoye has made a name for himself in the Anambra political arena. He has been chairman of the PDP at a very tender age, and a two term member of the House of Representatives before he voluntarily declined further contest for the position. He has a crop of young followers who are ready to die defending him. He is not a push over as far as Anambra politics is concerned and has contested the governorship seat of Anambra state twice, and beaten known persons to the ticket in his choice party.